When a severe Covid outbreak at Liverpool forced the closure of their training grounds and the postponement of Thursday’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal, some rival fans and supposedly neutral pundits asked why the club simply couldn’t field a youth side.
Arsenal’s recent league game against Wolves and Liverpool’s against Leeds United were both postponed due to Covid outbreaks. And cup organisers will have had sound financial reasons for wanting to ensure their two-legged tie didn’t turn into a non-competitive farce.
Yet still, some who had been oddly quiet on past postponements asked, why not ignore the Covid outbreak since this time it was Liverpool’s players testing positive? Why not force them to play the kids? One good reason, it seems, is that the kids have been impacted, too.
Confirmation of that came by way of the cancellation of Friday’s FA Youth Cup match between the Reds and Burnley, which has now been officially postponed. It’s hardly a shock given the older academy players share space at the AXA Training Centre with the first team.
For the time being, Liverpool’s senior FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury on Sunday is set to go ahead, but the assumption has to be that that match is also in doubt, and currently sidelined players will need to start testing negative in the coming days for it to go ahead.